I am a Lecturer in Media and Communication and active researcher in the School of Media at Birmingham City University. My work focusses on what it means and how feels to be posthuman, by exploring how posthuman subjectivities are enabled and embodied. I have conducted autoethnographic projects exploring the lived experience of MMORPG gaming with particular focus on the avatar-gamer as an embodiment of posthuman subjectivity. In my current work I am extending this to explore posthuman conceptions of death, considering whether game environments allow a space to think differently about dying. My research interests are posthumanism, digital cultures, embodiment, performance in online contexts and the lived experience in research methods.
In 2017 I completed my PhD project ‘I, Posthuman: Embodying Entangled Subjectivities in Gaming’ in the School of Media and Performing Arts at Coventry University, researching the lived experience of MMORPG gaming with particular focus on the gamer as one embodiment of posthuman subjectivity. On 20th September 2017 I was delighted to pass my viva voce with no corrections.
I graduated from Aberystwyth University in 2012 with a First Class Joint Honours degree in Performance Studies and Drama with a keen interest in the performance of self in digital cultures. During my time as a PhD student these interests have expanded to include posthumanism, digital cultures, embodiment, performance in online contexts and the lived experience in research methods.
In my second year of undergraduate study I undertook a module titled ‘Performance in Context’ where we were able to individually choose a form of performance in a particular context which we wanted to study in further depth. I decided to explore ‘Creating Character in Online Social Networks’ as I was intrigued by the performative aspects of identity presentation especially when influenced by the online disinhibition effect and as an avenue for attention seeking, performing to an online audience, an opportunity to create a perfected form of self and how that might be considered as online persona vs. a “true” self.
In my third year I went on to take a module on ‘New Media Performance’ which explored the “growing and diverse field of new media performance to question how the presence of new media and digital elements (such as virtual environments, hypertexts and avatars, as well as projected film) might lead us to reconsider key concepts within theatre and performance studies, including space/place, narrative, text and body/performer/character.” (information taken from module handbook).
Combined, these two modules were the inspiration behind my own research project which originally looked to examine the ways in which performative styles and creation of character best known in dramatic fields are transferring into digital life.
After beginning my PhD study in September 2013 my research project underwent various refinements as I incorporated my underlying interest in the interaction between humans and machines, and the ways in which our subjectivities are negotiated with and through “external” others and objects.
Alongside my research and lecturing I have continued to work as an actor, appearing in a variety of performances.